Re: Preparing doc for translation

Subject: Re: Preparing doc for translation
From: Elaine Winters <ewinters -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 11:55:35 -0700

E. Winters: Principal Program Facilitating and Consulting
Berkeley, CA, USA 510-843-0909 ewinters -at- netcom -dot- com
Instructional Design * Interactivity * Cross - Cultural Communication

On Fri, 23 Sep 1994, Vincent Borghi wrote:

> (apologies for my poor english, I am french...)

Your English is far superior to my French; pls
don't apologize.

> 1) Simplified english is not a solution for the given problem:
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> In my opinion, things like "simplified english" or "restricted grammars"
> do not apply to the original problem, i.e. "preparing doc for translation".

> The aim of using a simplified/restricted english is to produce
> a document that is understandable by a foreign reader (who is not
> necessarily english-literate). The aim *is not* to produce
> a document easier to translate.
> . . .
> documents that will stay as is, i.e. that will not be translated,
> and will be read by foreign mediocre english-readers.

Well said. These techniques are useful when you KNOW from
the start that the information will never be translated
and must be intelligable to all.

> 2) True solutions for the given problem:
> ----------------------------------------
> To prepare your document for translation, the basic idea is very
> simple : ***** make it good ***** !

> PS1: This involves for example:
> - make your document short (throw away useless text...)
> - make it structured
> - use homogeneous, uniform, terminology
> - consider the reader is intelligent : give fine details only when it
> is necessary (the "step by step" syndrome is boring for the reader;
> here in France, american documentations are sometimes considered as
> laughable, due to the incredible details that are given in instructions)

This is a wonderful example of what can happen when
cultural considerations are not part of the original

Instructional Designing for a particular culture is
critical when you are preparing tutorials.

> - of course, forget your cultural background : throw away all
> references to hamburgers, God, white house, feministic debate, and
> so on :-). Think like a stateless person.
> - etc.

I frequently suggest that people recall the last time
they were someplace that was disorienting; even a first
roller-coaster experience is an example of what you
feel like when *cognitive dissonance* is a 'norm'.

> PS2: Concerning the material aspects, have in mind that many countries
> use A4 or A5 paper format, and have 4-rings binders (US legal and letter
> ans 3-rings binders are no-no's).

And - - if you are using color, make sure you haven't chosen
something that has a particular meaning in the target country.


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